Although many married couples in Florida take their vows believing their union will last forever, that’s not always the case. Some end up choosing divorce. However, some couples end up going through highly emotional contested divorces.
What is a contested divorce?
A contested divorce occurs when spouses are unable to come to an agreement on the matters related to the marriage such as alimony or child custody. When couples disagree, it can lead to a long, drawn-out battle in court that could last many months or even years if a solution cannot be easily reached. Typically, a contested divorce ends up in a trial.
How does a contested divorce work?
When one spouse decides they want to get a divorce, they have to file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the family court. Once the court has all the necessary paperwork, the petition is given to the other spouse. That person has up to 20 from the date of the petition being served to respond. If they don’t agree with the outlined terms, they have the right to contest it.
Contested divorces go through what’s known as the discovery process. This involves evidence being presented to either argue for or against the terms in the divorce petition. Any matters of contention are noted so that the spouse who contests can provide arguments explaining why they find any terms unfair.
With any type of divorce, Florida law requires all couples to go through mediation. This process involves meeting with a neutral third-party mediator who helps the couple to negotiate and reach an agreement on any matters of concern.
If the spouses are still unable to come to an agreement after mediation, the next step is for the divorce to go to court for a trial. A judge decides on the terms, which may or may not be fair to one or both spouses.
Many contested divorces end up being decided in ways that at least one spouse deems unfair.